Safe and legal abortion must be part of global health strategy

Friday, May 15, 2015

On May 5, the United Nations Secretary General released the Zero Draft of the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health Round 2 (May-June 2015).

While the document acknowledges high numbers of unsafe abortions and the potential for reducing unsafe abortion through contraception, disappointingly, this Zero Draft version does not explicitly identify safe abortion as a component of the strategy, despite evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of including safe abortion in the continuum of care and global policy guidance in support of safe and legal abortion.

“It is critical to demonstrate broad support for explicit inclusion of safe and legal abortion in the strategy. Ipas considers the omission of safe and legal abortion care particularly disturbing, given that the current 2010 Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health does specifically identify safe abortion services as an essential intervention,” says Joan Healy, Ipas Vice President for Health Systems. “We encourage our partner organizations around the world to demonstrate broad support for explicit inclusion of safe and legal abortion in the strategy during the public comment period which ends June 5,” she adds.

Based on the evidence, significant progress has been made by a number of countries in including safe abortion in the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health continuum of care. To launch the updated strategy and renewed efforts and commitments to reduce preventable deaths without including safe abortion as an evidence-based intervention is unconscionable and perpetuates denial of women’s human rights. 

Download the joint statement on the importance of including safe and legal abortion as a key approach in Round 2 of the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health